March 2012

Your 5 year old son is suddenly complaining that his friend is with us.  You’re on the 185 coming home from Lewisham. It’s March, absurdly hot and the teachers are on strike. You wonder how London will cope in the Olympics. You wonder if 2012 really is the beginning of something more awful than the end of anything else could be. The bus is packed. Your son won’t shut up. You try shifting seats so he can sit next to you. You try shifting seats so he can sit by himself. You try starting the story book at the beginning as he asks you to, from where you left off earlier as he asks you. You apologise to your son’s friend. You say your son is tired and overheated. You congratulate the friend on how he’s dealing with being told he’s not wanted anymore. Your son won’t shut up. You don’t turn round to apologise to the rest of the passengers on the bus but think they deserve it. You imagine an African mother tapping you on the shoulder and asking if you’ve considered a short, sharp slap. The words meltdown, awful child and worst nightmare come to mind. You ignore your son. You concentrate on ploughing through the book about space travel with your son’s friend who doesn’t seem too bothered by the 30 minute outpouring of hatred against him.  That seems exemplary practice. Today, you manage to keep your cool. Today, you are an icy planet inside.


Today we looked at yarrow, goosegrass/cleavers, ladies bedstraw, nettle and then we drank nettle tea and spent some time with the nettles before writing and discussing. Next meditation Monday 23rd April 10am – 11.30am for the Taurus new moon. Get in touch if you’re interested.


I look at you

and I drink you

Crinkled, curled, pursed lips of leaves

Green spear

Light shining on

Light shining

A spear, a sword

Rushing into my bloodstream

Absorbing, being absorbed

The slant of another stem

An energetic pathway

beside this decaying log

so full of life

Next to green alkanet

So surreptitious, so full-bodied but bedraggled

A fighter, a warrior, to succeed, to grow, to fight on through

The little nettles, sparkling in the sun, droplets

There are 4 of us humans, inside, internal with the plants

We are strangers yet so connected as we connect through the plants

Through the plants, we sit by the plants

The sun sits on us all

Fire, fire plants

Fight my fire plant

Show me how to push on up and grow despite everything

I sip of earth.

And then we talked about love

One said, “It’s like it’s saying I might be all fiery on the outside but there’s an intelligent love on the inside”

Two said “There’s a deep connection to the earth through the nettle”

Three said “Love needs a lot of attentiveness”

Four  said, “It’s so hard to love”.

Through the plants, we sit by the plants

The sun sits on us all

Fire, fire plants

Fight my fire plant

Show me how to push on up and grow despite everything

I sip of earth.

Yarrow is a herb. The above ground parts are used to make medicine.
Yarrow is used for fever, common cold, hay fever, absence of menstruation, dysentery, diarrhea, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal (GI) tract discomfort, and to induce sweating.
Some people chew the fresh leaves to relieve toothache.
Yarrow is applied to the skin to stop bleeding from hemorrhoids; for wounds; and as a sitz bath for painful, lower pelvic, cramp-like conditions in women.
In combination with other herbs, yarrow is used for bloating, intestinal gas (flatulence), mild gastrointestinal (GI) cramping, and other GI complaints.
In foods, the young leaves and flowers of yarrow are used in salads.
In manufacturing, yarrow is also used as a cosmetic cleanser and in snuff. Yarrow oil is used in shampoos.

How does it work?

Yarrow contains many chemicals that might affect blood pressure and possibly have anti-inflammatory effects.

Yarrow seems to be safe for most adults. In some people, yarrow might cause drowsiness and increase urination when taken by mouth. When it comes in contact with the skin, yarrow might cause skin irritation.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Don’t take yarrow by mouth if you are pregnant. It is believed to affect the menstrual cycle and might cause a miscarriage.
It’s also best to avoid yarrow if you are breast-feeding. Not enough is known about its safety during nursing.
Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Yarrow may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking yarrow.
Surgery: Yarrow might slow bloodclotting so there is a concern that it might increase bleeding during and after surgery. Stop taking yarrow at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Wild herb meditations

Learn to identify wild spring herbs and flowers, spend some time in nature, go for a walk, be outdoors in warm company, meet some local people and bring all your knowledge, memories and curiosity. The session will include wild herb tea tasting.

This walk will enable you to see your natural environment in a different way, recognising potential food sources in the green spaces around you.

In order to welcome some silence and stillness into each session, we will look in depth at one plant, its properties and uses, we will spend some time contemplating the plant and journaling and/or drawing it. No prior experience required, just a willingness to spend some moments in silence as part of an otherwise social experience.

About Invisible Food

Invisible Food is an innovative, holistic project. We innovate with the wild plants that grow in London and toss them together with the culinary skills of residents who have settled here from all over the world. We create recipes made with unusual and yet common plants on everyone’s doorstep.

The project works on many levels, we are about environmental education and there is also a deeper, more soulful and humanistic interpretation of Invisible ‘food’ as that which sustains us emotionally and spiritually, that which creates a strong community, friendship and support, a connection with the earth, and a commitment to social justice.  It is an introduction to an accessible ritual, open to all regardless of cultural and religious background. We approach our task of bringing people together with common sense and love of collaboration and by opening a space for creative expression.

The project is led by Ceri Buckmaster, a socially-engaged writer and artist. Her work explores how learning new skills can respond to current economic, spiritual and environmental crises. It brings to the fore conversations, relationships and informal networks of learning that are often accorded low status, undervalued or invisible in society.